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Inside Real Estate (Dec 11th, 2019)

1. Home-sharing site Airbnb is investing in a young company that leases homes out to relocated professionals for 30-day-minimum stays. Zeus Living will begin listing its properties on the Airbnb site and has already leased out a total of 650,000 nights to 27,000 tenants. The growing operation in 2019 increased revenue by 300 percent. This partnership with Airbnb is expected to be a boon for Zeus Living, which profits by charging landlords an additional free month and marking up rents. - TECHCRUNCH

2. A spate of startups China is mimicking the WeWork model for the country’s residential market. Informally known as “apartment operators,” people are signing long-term leases, renovating the spaces and then subleasing them out at a higher rate. Banks are also loaning out money for “subleasees” to pay apartment operators (original renters) — who guarantee the loans. This system seems to work in China partly because high-priced rents are due quarterly, instead of monthly, and tenants sometimes find if difficult to pay large sums upfront. One problem that could arise: If apartment operators fail to pay their rents, the “subleasee” tenants could be evicted. - WALL STREET JOURNAL

3. The new year is expected to bring increased competition for homes, as low mortgage rates encourage buying in a low-inventory market, Forbes predicts. Less on-the-market houses and more buyers would also mean higher prices. What might keep property list prices in check? The already present affordability crisis. While some sellers might be able to demand more money, the buyer pool that can afford to pay might be diminished. - FORBES

4. Amazon is leasing a two-tower, 1.13 million-square-foot building in Vancouver, British Columbia. Owned by QuadReal and formerly known as The Post, the massive structure accommodates 7,000 workers and is expected to be completed by 2023. Once the deal is finalized, Amazon will be the city’s largest commercial tenant. This lease alone will pose a “decline of about two percent in (forecasted) vacancy” for commercial space in Vancouver. - VANCOUVER SUN

5. A $1 billion mixed-use complex called Olympia will rise in Los Angeles thanks to Chinese developer City Century. The residential-and-retail development will be situated on Olympic Boulevard alongside the 110 Freeway, across the street from entertainment complex L.A. Live. This closing comes amid China’s dwindling investments in U.S. land. New policies and geopolitical conflicts have slowed the rate of Chinese investment in this country. - LOS ANGELES TIMES

6. UK-based company This Moving House, which remodels campers, transformed a used Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van into a $106,000 residence. The newly renovated mobile tiny home, dubbed the “Culinatour," was created for a European custom-travel agency, which will lease out the space to tourists who seek unique vacations. The body of the vehicle was purchased in 2018 and is still under warranty until April. That is, if the warranty hasn’t already been voided by the structure’s shift. - BUSINESS INSIDER

7. More than a dozen residents at a 101-unit building in Washington D.C. are refusing to pay rent due to an alleged vermin infestation, among other complaints. Residents demonstrated outside of the complex last week to complain that their grievances have gone unacknowledged. Residents also said they're living with mold, lead, pests, neglected repairs and an unreasonable cost of air conditioning. - DCIST

8. T-Mobile CEO John Legere just closed on a $16.7 million South Florida mansion. Public records show that Legere bought a 6,240-square-foot estate in Naples, Florida, an affluent city that's home to a concentration of retirees. The house comes with an eight-car garage, boat dock and indoor-outdoor-living floor plan. — REALTOR

9. Officials in Baltimore, Maryland, could crack down on landlords who rent out homes to "more people than the law is meant to allow,” by introducing new legislation, the Baltimore Sun reports. The law in that state currently does not allow landlords to rent homes to "three or more adults who are not related by blood, marriage, or adoption," unless tenants obtain a permit issued by the Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections. The proposed measure arose after some neighborhood residents complained about the traffic and “other quality-of-life issues” four college students introduced when they collectively leased a townhouse in their area. - BALTIMORE SUN

10. A woman accused of stealing more than $24,000 in jewelry during an open-house showing in Glendale, Wisconsin, has been sentenced to two years in prison, and she’s not the only home-tour robber in that region. Janet Barnes pleaded guilty on a felony theft charge and must pay a restitution fee of $17,500. The homeowner who hosted the showing said she discovered that several luxury purses, a watch and other valuables were missing after home shoppers left. A local real estate company executive told police that there have been numerous similar occurrences in nearby neighborhoods other over the last few weeks. - WITI-TV

Written and curated by Darla Guillen Gilthorpe. Darla writes for the Houston Chronicle, where she was part of its 2018 Pulitzer Prize finalist staff. She was previously an editor at Vox Media site Eater and has had bylines in Elle Decor, SFGate and various other outlets. Follow her on Twitter here.

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